Marathon Training, part dos

So I can’t remember if I even wrote about marathon training last year, so this could possibly be part uno. Even though I haven’t been using this space much, I thought it would be a good way to keep track of my training, hold me accountable, and possibly help someone else who may be thinking about running a marathon.

A little background … this will be my 2nd full marathon and I am registered for the Richmond marathon this November. I have run 11 half marathons, and numerous other 10K’s and 5K’s.

I’m following one of Hal Higdon’s training plans and hopefully actually incorporating more cross training and speed work this time around. My first marathon time was over 5 hours and I would really like to get under 5 hours and possibly even more like 4:45. We’ll see. My husband keeps mouthing “speed work” to me. Ugh.

Here are my stats for the week so far:

Week One Plan/Actual

Monday – XT (spin class) + 1 mile walk

Tuesday – 4 miles (Ran 3 with Ria)

Wednesday – Strength class AM/ XT PM (Spin class, no strength)

Thursday – 4 miles (moving this run to Friday)

Friday – rest (4 miles TO DO)

Saturday – 8 miles (instead, a rest day)

Sunday – yoga (8 miles/yoga)

So that is it in a nutshell. Waking around 5am several days a week is no fun, but I’m hoping like anything, it will get easier with time.


Oh, taper weeks … I love you.

And now we taper.

I think there is a collective sigh of 40,000+ runners happening.

It just feels good to go out and run a quick 3 or 4 miles and actually feel speedy again.

So now is the time that you rest and prepare.

My week may or may not have included two nights out with friends that included wine and heel-wearing, cupcake eating and running around with M&L, and not great lunch choices that included a ginger cookie and salt & pepper potato chips. It’s all carb loading, right?!

9 days out. Time to:

  • Make a final decision about what to wear on race day
  • Obsessively start tracking the weather
  • Eat well and sleep well
  • Meditate about crossing the finish line, how it will feel, how I will feel, etc.
  • Add to my Marathon playlist
  • Enjoy our last few training runs
  • Get a final massage to work out any lingering aches and pains
  • Have fun, run a strong race, and enjoy 26.2 miles

What about you? If you are tapering, how are you preparing for the big day?

A comparison of childbirth and marathon training

Two seemingly different events, but somehow feel eerily similar to me right now.

1. I think I want to have a baby/run a marathon. Feelings: excited, nervous, scared,  and possibly unprepared. You receive “atta boys” from friends and comments like “Why in the world would you want to do something like that!?” You may question if you’ll be a good parent or could possibly run 26.2 miles.

2. The training/gestation can be a lengthy process. 9 months, 18 weeks … it’s all a long time. I think people even say during pregnancy, it’s a marathon; not a sprint.

3. Your body changes, aches, and you realize that certain body parts may never be the same again. I have accepted that my stomach will never look the same after having twins. I am also coming to realize that my toes may never feel or look the same again either.

4. You buy a lot of gear. My Mom always tells me that she didn’t have half of what we have when she had a baby. According to her, all you needed were a few blankets, bottles, and cloth diapers. There is a rumor that I slept in a drawer for a while. I used to think the same about running. All you really need are good shoes, but somehow find yourself in a garmincompressiongusweatybandrunningskirtfoamrollerspecialsocksheadlampinserts  induced shopping event. I did the same thing at Babies R Us, but it was blanketsbibsstrollersbreastpumpslingcribsbouncyseatsbathtubboardbooks.

5. Both cause strange dreams, anxiety, planning, schedules, charts, lists, and reading of books.  Dreams of leaving your baby on a school bus, dreams of never ending hills, or leaving your running shoes at home on race day. I knew how far along I was and I know how many weeks I’ve been training. There is a lot of talk of what it will be like, how I will feel, preparing for what could happen. I used to spend a lot of time on seeing what size fruit the baby was compared to this week. Ooh, look – an english cucumber! Now, I’m google searching for “how to run a 4:30 marathon” and over-analyzing race recaps.

6. You get a lot of unsolicited advice. It feels like every week I hear, “My Aunt’s cousin’s friend ran a marathon. You better buy a lot of Body Glide.”  or “My brother’s co-workers Uncle has twins. You better start saving for college.”

7. It’s going to hurt before it’s all over.  No matter how strong you are, how high of a pain threshold you have, it hurts. Natural birth, C-section, home birth. There are definitely times of discomfort. Running for 26.2 miles, I expect that it’s not going to feel like a stroll in the park. I will be proud of both scars ~ visible or not.

8. I eat like a man. While pregnant, it was nothing for me to “out-eat” my husband. Until closer to the end when I ran out of room. It was depressing to be able to eat what I wanted and not care and after a few bites, I felt full. So sad. Ice cream wants to be eaten. Training for a marathon = I’m hungry. All the time. Carb loading? Heck, yeah! Bring on the bread!

9. Pregnancy and marathon training may both cause strange sleep patterns. Night sweats, multiple bathroom visits, stacks of pillow, and middle of the night acrobatics all caused me to sleep in short bursts. This also caused my husband to move to the spare room/sofa by my third trimester. During marathon training, it has been super early alarm clocks for training runs, sore or restless legs, and the constant threat of “I have to get up early … don’t wake me up!” Spouses of pregnant women or those running marathons deserve medals too.

10. The rewards are plentiful. Ok, so no medal or race shirt is ever going to top my beautiful daughters. I do think that both experiences have given me more than I would have ever thought. Both have pushed me, made me stronger, more humble, and a better person. I love the challenge and seeing first hand that the human body is an amazing machine.

Last 20 miler

The last big training run was yesterday before MCM. All week the forecast was calling for cool temps in the 50’s which was wonderful news.

Fast forward to Saturday and they were now forecasting a 30-40% chance of rain. Eh. By Saturday night, I heard rain coming down hard, but I chose to ignore it and rolled over.

Even though we weren’t meeting until 8am, I was up a little before 6 to enjoy some coffee in silence. I poked my head out and it was drizzling and windy and cold. By the time I was getting ready to leave, it was raining pretty hard. I was wearing a hat, a water resistant vest, long sleeve tech tee, skirt, and compression sleeves. I packed extra clothes, socks, and shoes.  I just told myself that we could always run some on the treadmill, I’ve run in the rain before, and at least we would have dry clothes/shoes if we needed to change.

As I was getting in my car, I saw a flash of lightning. Not cool. I called ET and she confirmed it was also lightning/thundering  at her house. Ugh. I may take some risks, but running 20 miles during a thunderstorm wasn’t going to be one of them.

ET, M, and I were meeting up with 2 other runners who had been out since 6am. They came through and were soaking wet, looked hot from the running, but cold from the conditions. They told us the lightning wasn’t hitting the ground and they were just going to stay close to the cars.

Yeah. Running 20 miles back and forth on the same mile long path and worrying about lightning doesn’t sound like a fun time. We finally told them to go on as we were figuring out our options. Luckily, we noticed that the sky was clearing, the radar showed the storm was moving quickly, so we opted to wait it out and by 9am, it was clear. Hallelujah!

Finally … we were running.

We changed up our route and it was nice to change the routine. I felt like the first 7 or so miles really went quickly. Sidewalks and acorns tend to cause me a lot of problems, so we all tried to stay on asphalt as much as we could and it was nice to have some drivers who moved way over.

We all commented that we weren’t nearly as sore at Mile 10 as we had been on the previous 20-miler. We did seem to take a few breaks ~ potty, leaky water bottle, M’s hubby and kids who delivered salt bagel pieces to us, photo opps, refueling, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to get going after the little breaks, but since we weren’t trying to break any records, none of us minded.

All in all, it took 3:35 for 20.01 miles. A wee little bit quicker than last time, but nothing to brag about. I felt good the entire way, and even though I felt tired the last few miles, tried to push it as much as I could. Again, nothing record-breaking, but I was determined (and did) stay under an 11 minute mile. I would like to ban any 11 minute miles from race day, but we’ll see what happens.

What I ate:

Pre: coffee, water, oatmeal with almonds, craisins, and a little granola on top.

During: water in my fuel belt. 3 Shok Bloks around mile 4 and again at Mile 9. Banana and a little Gatorade at Mile 13. Small bite of salt bagel. Mile 16, I had a piece of a Luna bar. Refilled water during the race and drank a lot of water afterward. Chocolate milk when we finished.

Post: let’s just say that my treats included pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of vino. Yum.

Like so many others who are training for a fall marathon, bring on the taper!

rambling, re-committing, running

So, I am at the point with this marathon training that I am d.o.n.e. I no longer want to get up at 4:30 and go run in the dark, or go run circles quickly on a track. Heck, this morning I really didn’t want to get up, but I did and knocked out 5 miles on the treadmill because of the rain.

Well, almost 5 miles because the treadmill crapped out at 4.8 miles and I hadn’t looked at my time in a while. So frustrating. What was even more frustrating is that I was at a good pace and finally not feeling the strange hamstring pain that I had on Sunday.

However, I only have just over 3 (!) weeks to go before crossing that finish line and I understand how important training is to a good race. So, I had to have a little talk with myself and said, “self.. you better suck it up.” Ok, so I really didn’t call myself “self”, but I did tell myself on Sunday that I needed to be focused and committed to the rest of the training runs.

We have one last 20-miler to go and then we are tapering and 4-mile mid week runs and 8-mile long runs will feel wonderful.

From the beginning, I have been saying that I just want to finish and I don’t want the bridge to beat me. Now that we are getting a little closer, have a better idea of what our pace has been like on long runs, my competitive side is starting to come out. Just a little.

With the help of one of my running buddies. we have started a list of Suckas we would like to beat on race day.

Oprah ~ 4:29 Did they have chip timing in 1994? Who doesn’t have Oprah on their list?

Jared of Subway ~ 5:13

Al Gore ~ 4:54

Jill Biden ~ 4:30 Dang. and she was 47 when she did it.

I have to say, this article made me laugh.

Wish I could beat P.Diddy, but at 4:14, I think I would need a miracle or roller skates.

I know we have a few others that are a little more personal, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Who is on your “to beat” list?